I have decided to boycott Star Wars.
Well, sort of. With last month’s announcement that the Star Wars saga will be hitting Blu-ray about a year from now, I have decided to stay away from watching the movies or listening to the soundtracks until then.
This is no small thing. I listen to the soundtracks quite often on my iPod, and I tend to watch a Star Wars movie on DVD at least every three months or so. Taking some time off in anticipation of the new release will just make it that much more fun.
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Not long after making the Blu-ray announcement, George Lucas talked with The New York Times and quickly destroyed any small hope fans might have had that the Blu-ray set would include the original, theatrical versions of the 1977-1983 Star Wars trilogy:
Mr. Lucas said the versions of the first three “Star Wars” films […] included in the Blu-ray boxed set will be the special-edition releases that were shown theatrically in 1997 and digitally restored for a 2004 standard-definition DVD boxed set.
Perhaps bracing for the reactions of fans who decried some of the changes […], Mr. Lucas said that to release the original versions of these films on Blu-ray was “kind of an oxymoron because the quality of the original is not very good.”
“You have to go through and do a whole restoration on it, and you have to do that digitally,” he added. “It’s a very, very expensive process to do it. So when we did the transfer to digital, we only transferred really the upgraded version.”
It is unclear whether these will be the 2004 versions or further updated versions for 2011. I do think it is a shame, though not a surprise, that Lucas is not even considering restoring and including the original versions.
They can release multiple versions of movies like Blade Runner and Close Encounters on Blu-ray, but it is somehow impossibly expensive to do the same for the most successful film series of all time. I find that hard to believe!
It may not be the exact Star Wars I want, but I am still happy that it is coming to Blu-ray. As for those theatical versions, maybe, someday, Lucas will make enough money to afford to give them a proper release.